Business activities wind down

…as end of year festivities begin

As the final working week before the Yuletide and end of year festivities comes to an end, economic activities in urban Ghana are discernably slowing down.

Although there is heavy traffic in most urban centres around the country this is mainly the result of intensified retail shopping as consumerism reaches its customary annual peak immediately ahead of the end of year holiday season. 

Indeed, many enterprises are closing down altogether this weekend and will not reopen their doors to the public until after New Year’s Day.

Business to business transactions in particular, outside of wholesale consumer good sales, are being put on hold over the next two weeks or so.

While the financial markets will remain open during the festivities season, with the exception of the public holidays on December 25 and 26, and on January 1, 2019, financial portfolio trading volumes are already thinning out in line with the subdued levels of formal business activity.

However, there are some notable exceptions to the general trend. For instance, activities in Ghana’s extractive industries are going on unabated.

Both the production of oil and gas, as well as gold extraction will continue through the festivities season without missing a beat.

The financial services industry will remain open to customers as well. But while some financial institutions will only keep front office activities running at full strength, others – particularly the banks who are still engaged in a race against time to comply with the new minimum capital requirements set by the Bank of Ghana – will be even busier in their back offices as they seek to hammer out crucial deals ahead of the December 31 deadline set by the central bank.

Also accounts offices across corporate Ghana will be busy too, finalizing management accounts ahead of the December 31 financial year end, after which they will be submitted to external auditors.

But it is the commerce, leisure and recreation sectors that will be the busiest over the next two weeks, catering for retail shoppers and for holiday-makers respectively.

This will be of little consequence for interest rates and equity prices but customarily, the cedi tends to depreciate a notch during the end of year festivities because of the inevitable spike in demand for and the supply of imported consumer items.

Corporate Ghana in general will be back to full operations by the end of the first week of 2019.

By Toma Imirhe